Lebanon ex-PM Hariri murder tribunal to give verdict August 7

A UN-backed tribunal into the assassination of Rafiq Hariri will deliver its long-awaited verdict on Aug. 7. (File/AFP)
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Updated 13 July 2020

Lebanon ex-PM Hariri murder tribunal to give verdict August 7

  • Hariri, who was Lebanon's Sunni Muslim prime minister until his resignation in 2004, was killed in 2005
  • The alleged mastermind, a Hezbollah commander, was indicted by the court but is now believed to be dead

THE HAGUE: A UN-backed tribunal into the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri in a huge car bombing in 2005 will deliver its long-awaited verdict on August 7, the court announced on Friday.
Billionaire Hariri, who was Lebanon's Sunni Muslim prime minister until his resignation in 2004, was killed in February 2005, when a suicide bomber detonated a van next to his armoured convoy on the Beirut seafront.
Another 21 people were killed and 226 injured in the assassination, with fingers pointing at Syria which had long been a power-broker in the country.
The Netherlands-based court said it "issued a scheduling order today for the public pronouncement of the judgment" in the case against four suspects from Lebanon's Shiite Muslim fundamentalist group Hezbollah, who are being tried in absentia.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the hearing "will be delivered from the courtroom with partial virtual participation", it said in statement.
The tribunal was created by a 2007 UN Security Council resolution at Lebanon's request, and the four defendants went on trial in 2014 accused of core roles in the attack.
Salim Ayyash, 50, is accused of leading the team that carried out the bombing, while Assad Sabra, 41, and Hussein Oneissi, 41, allegedly sent a fake video to the Al-Jazeera news channel claiming responsibility on behalf of a made-up group.
Hassan Habib Merhi, 52, is accused of general involvement in the plot.
The alleged mastermind, Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine, was indicted by the court but is now believed to have died while leading the militia's forces fighting with the Syrian regime in May 2016.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah has refused to hand over the suspects and warned the tribunal "don't play with fire" while Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad says it is a tool to "pressure Hezbollah".
 


Canada launches a Lebanon relief fund after Beirut blast

Updated 1 min 9 sec ago

Canada launches a Lebanon relief fund after Beirut blast

MONTREAL: The Canadian government announced on Saturday the launch of a Lebanon relief fund, calling on citizens to give generously to victims of the massive explosion that killed more than 150 people and injured 6,000 in Beirut.
“Every dollar donated by individual Canadians between August fourth and 24th will be matched by the government of Canada... up to a maximum of Can$2 million,” or $1.5 million, said International Development Minister Karina Gould at a news conference.
The money will go to the Humanitarian Coalition, which brings together a dozen Canadian humanitarian organizations on the ground in Lebanon, she said.
It will use its expertise to distribute the aid in areas such as water supply, sanitation, food and shelter.
“I encourage Canadians to donate to the Lebanon Matching Fund to help save lives and meet the urgent needs of the affected population,” said the minister, adding it was the best way for citizens to help.
The assistance is part of the Can$5 million aid package announced earlier this week by Ottawa.
A group of Lebanese-Canadian businessmen has announced plans to raise at least $2.5 million to help the disaster-stricken population.
Tuesday’s massive explosion leveled Beirut port and killed at least 158 people.
A fire at the port had ignited a large stock of ammonium nitrate, triggering an explosion that was felt as far away as Cyprus and destroyed entire neighborhoods.
It was widely perceived as a direct consequence of corruption and incompetence, an egregious case of callousness on the part of an already reviled ruling elite.